Enhanced Access to Nuclear Medicine

Enhanced Access to  Nuclear MedicineEnhanced Access to  Nuclear Medicine

A common goal of the 150 nuclear medicine centers across the country is to offer patients better tools to fight the different types of cancers afflicting them. Patients receiving treatment should be mostly hospitalized for a week or more to complete their course of radio-medication.

According to the Health Ministry’s Drugs Supervision Office, at present, 12 radio-drugs including Iodine Radioactive 131 and Tansium 99M are produced domestically by the Iranian Pars-Isotope Company, while 30 to 40 medications are imported, IRNA reported.

In addition to their therapeutic properties, radiopharmaceuticals can be used as diagnostic agents and radiotracers to diagnose dysfunction in body tissues, said Mehdi Pirsalehi, who heads the office.

The services currently provided at some of the centers include treatment for thyroid cancer, hyperthyroidism, and neuro-endocrine tumors with iodine-131 radiopharmaceutical, treatment of bone metastases with strontium-89 and samarium-153 radio-drugs, and prevention of severe inflammation of the joints in patients with advanced rheumatoid problem with the help of Phosphorus-32 radio-drug.

Radiopharmaceuticals are used in PET scan. Positron Emission Tomography is a type of nuclear medicine imaging. In March 2013, PET scan device was used for the first time in the country at Tehran’s Masih Daneshvari Hospital.

  Centers in Southern Regions

Six months ago a nuclear medicine and molecular imaging research center was opened in Bushehr Province to provide access to patients in the southern parts of the country.

“During the last six months, more than 100 patients have received medical services at the Bushehr center, half of them from neighboring provinces,” said Majid Asadi, its head.

New methods to treat lymphoma (also called lymphatic cancer), liver cancer and advanced prostate cancer are being studied at the center in collaboration with European and American research centers.

Enhancing capabilities in medical technology is necessary to prevent people from traveling abroad for simple diagnostic tests, he noted.

The nuclear medicine center at Namazi Hospital in Shiraz, Fars Province is another active center in the southern region. It is equipped with SPECT Gamma Camera, a device used to image gamma radiation emitting radioisotopes.

Annually, the center provides nuclear treatment services to more than 8,000 patients from the southern provinces of Fars, Bushehr, Hormozgan, Kohgiluye -Boyer Ahmad and Khuzestan.

  Training in Radiopharmacology.    

Production of radiopharmaceuticals using a cyclotron device is one of the achievements of the country’s nuclear technology in the past two years.

At present, a restricted number of pharmacy students at Tehran and Shahid Beheshti universities are undergoing specialized training in radiopharmacology.

Radiopharmacology or medicinal radiochemistry is a branch of pharmacy. Dosage control of radiopharmaceuticals is a highly sensitive issue. High dosage can cause cancer.

As an integral part of the Nuclear Medicine Department, the prime responsibility of Radiopharmacology is the preparation of high quality radiopharmaceuticals, the base for nuclear medicine technology.